All posts for the month January, 2008

For all that hectic weather we paid for today my snow dance only looks to have droped a single inch of snow in the Buffalo bucket. Guess I still have a few things to work out with it.

Anyways a recap of the wild day today in Buffalo.

3am the temperature rises to 53 degrees.

4am the front with a weak squall line pass through the area.

5am the winds and artic air start blasting into the area. The temperature drops to 29 degrees at the 5am report (a 24 degree temperature drop in less than 2 hours).

6am the damaging winds begin a rapid increase acorss the area. Trees and power lines begin to fall.

7am the winds running the full length of Lake Erie cause the water level at Buffalo harbor to rise to 11.06 feet (3.06 feet) above flood stage. This is the 2nd highest flood stage ever recorded at Buffalo harbor and while records for the highest storm surge are not kept it is very likely this storm caused the most rapid rise in the lake level. An amazing 9.5 foot rise in the lake level in just a 2 hour period. This will lead to very rare flooding along the Niagara and Buffalo Rivers. (I’ll expand a bit more below).

9am while the winds appear to start subsuding the lake effect snow bursts begin to organize into more definded feeder type bands and pick up in intensity despite the strong sheering winds and partially frozen Lake Erie.

10am the snow band keep cranking and the winds again increase. Sustained winds at the Buffalo Airport peak at 54 mph with a gust of 68 mph recorded. Many school net reporting stations record gusts in the mid to high 60’s, with two reporting gusts in the 70’s, and a station south of Buffalo (Starpoint) recording a gust of 81mph. As many as 60,000 customers in WNY are without power.

12pm the winds keep going strong in the 40-50 mph range. The lake effect is still cranking over the Buffalo area. The NYS thruway is shutdown from Buffalo to Rochester.

2pm the winds let up a bit into the 30-40mph range but the lake snows begin to start breaking up and moving a bit south of the area.

5pm, winds are down to 25-30mph and the lake snows are largely broken apart and south of the area.

8pm the NYS thruway reopens. Conditions have improved dramitcally with only patchy areas of difficult travel.

I’ve got to say this is probably one of the worst winter storms I have ever seen in my 22 years living in WNY. I was really expecting the NWS to issue Blizzard Warnings for a point late this morning but as bad as it was we just didnt hit the criteria and really the worst weather only last about 5 hours. This is probably the closest thing weve seen to a real blizzard since 1977. In my opinion the only thing that really didn’t make this storm that bad was the lack of snowfall. We saw a good 4-6 hour period of really only moderate lake effect that seemed severe with the winds. But we had no snowpack to be blown around. Had we had a decent snowpack on the ground before this storm, or if the lake effect been more intense things would have certainly been much worse.

Probably the most interesting aspect to this storm was the lakeshore flash flooding. Now if there is anyone who knows the last time these events happened please let me know, I know it has happened before but it’s been a long time since the Buffalo River flooded the old first ward of South Buffalo and the Niagara River spilled its banks along Grand Island, Tonawanada and Fort Erie in Canada. It was amazing to see how the rapid rise in the lake level caused the Buffalo River to back up and in a way reverse ice jam sending huge amounts of water backwards upstream. This backup even sent water rushing back into the feeder creeks of the Buffalo River and lead to a quick rise of 1-2 feet. Meanwhile along the Niagara River the winds and push of the water caused a great deal of ice to be forced over the ice boom that keeps the ice in Lake Erie and out of the Niagara River where it can cause damage to the power plants near Niagara Falls. The boom held up pretty good considering the conditions but still ended up being breached in at least two spots which lead to even more ice pouring into the Niagara River. This lead to even more rare flooding along the Tonawanda River Walks and homes and Marinas on Grand Island. Due to the location of the Niagara River sucking water from Lake Erie and then quickly pulling it over the falls, the level of the river is usually very slow to change and flash flooding conditions are a rare occurance. Seeing some of the pictures of the fishing peirs (which usually are 6-10 feet above the river level) completely underwater with floating ice chunks was unreal.

Here is a chart comparing the Buffalo Harbor water level to the Toledo water level this morning. Can certainly see where all the water came to and left from.

Here is a larger view of the CHART.

Now for some photos. Takes to long to upload all of them on here so I’ll just link them.

Got to feel bad for this guy.

This car didn’t make out much better either.

Flooding in Grand Island, so much for that nice river front property.

Flooding in South Buffalo’s old First Ward came quickly flooding the streets and basements.

The riverwalk along the Erie Canal can’t even be seen after the rise from Lake Erie poured into the canal.

A few of my damage pictures…

A construction trailer flipped on its side.

Two trees down on the same house. Luckily the car was spared!

Poor driving conditions!

ZERO visibility!

Ok enough about the storm. Things look to get interesting again in the next day or two with winter storm watches up. Snow/Sleet/Freezing Rain, a nice mix of everything is on tap!

Another powerful wind storm is raking across upstate NY today. Much like the event that hit us three weeks ago on January 9th. The inital storm front this time was not as powerful as three weeks ago but the winds behind the frontal passage are certainly packing a little more of a punch. The winds right now seem to be letting up a little in the Buffalo area after two straight hourly reports from the airport of sustained winds at 53mph with gusts to 64 mph.

Quite a bit of damage around the area, lots of downed limbs, trees, power lines, traffic lights, semis blown over on the thruway. The airport is still opened but almost everything leaving town is canceled or delayed for a lenghty time. Almost all of the schools in the WNY area are closed. Somewhere in the neighborhood of 54,000 plus without power this morning. Lake Effect pockets are giving quick shots of white outs. One of the most interesting things is the flash flooding that is taking place along the Buffalo and Niagara Rivers. The ice that was being held in the lake is being forced over the boom with quite a bit of force and combined with the extra push of water from the lake the Niagara River is creating ice jams along the river. Something I can never remember happening before. Really curious as to what shape the ice boom is in right now after this storm.

More to come with pictures later! Stay safe today everyone!


The Buffalo snow dance has been done!

Dance one resulted in 60 mph winds, thunderstorms, and power outages…

Dance two lead to a good amount of snow in Buffalo helping to maintain third place in the standings…

Dance three… we will see what happens….

While a video may or may not exist of parts of the Buffalo snow dance I will confirm the ritual took place around the 9:00pm hour Monday night. Unfortunately due to an excessive amount of pre ritual beverages my ceremony turned from sacrificing a 6 foot snow man (blowing his as… “behind” up) to burning a 2 foot replica of him to the ground.Regardless those in Buffalo can be certain we are due for some INTERESTING weather now this week.

ON another note Monday marked the 31st anniversary of the great blizzard of 1977. I hate to make those plugs like Patrick does but this is certainly an interesting you tube video to check out. If you like the video be sure to check out where you can purchase the full length DVD and the associated book by Erno Rossi. I’m not a big book person but his account of the storm is simply AWESOME! Check it out!

Rochester continues their march up the snow hill trying to be king and right now they are only 3.6 inches away from throwing Syracuse off the top of the hill. Looking at last years totals for this time in the season has me a little worried as a Syracusan and here’s why.

Last season most of us got off to a slow start but Rochester was really slow and was trailing Syracuse by 15 inches at this time last year and fell even further behind before they started a come back. Although we ended up blowing them away by the time the season ended they made a pretty good charge for awhile and I think it was about mid February when they started the charge. That’s why Syracuse might want to be a little worried this year. They have already started to make their move and it’s way earlier than they did last season. We’ll have to wait and see how serious they are about winning the trophy.

Don’t count Buffalo out of this yet either. Although the lake has been freezing over pretty rapidly the last week or so (see maps below) there is still enough open water to keep the lake machine running. Plus, my guess is that he General probably has some kind of destroyer on order to cruise through the lake and break all of the ice up if it’s needed. Ya have to keep an eye on the General, he’s a tricky kind of guy 😉

Is it time for the famous snow dance to take place??? You bet it is and it will be taken place in the very near future and this season the General from Buffalo is going to also do one or two, three. I believe this will be his third one of the season. No make that his second one. The first one was kind of an experiment for him and his dance ended up almost producing a hurricane. So we’ll consider that one some kind of wind dance. Yup, remember that windy day a few weeks back? Enough said ; ) Anyways the General called me out on a snow dance and with the contest being so close right now I figured I better do something to keep the trophy here in DaCuse another season so it will be happening maybe come Tuesday. At least that is what I told the General anyways, Shhhhhhh. Have a great day everyone.

No, not for the seasonal snow totals but for the month. Yup, for the month of January Syracuse is in last place for snow totals which I find pretty interesting and if they don’t get something going pretty soon they may also find themselves out of the lead for the Golden Snowball contest.

Here are the stats for the month of January and looking at them my guess is that Lake Erie is still alive and kicking. January snowfall so far:

Buffalo – 13.9
Rochester – 11.9
Albany – 7.2
Binghamton – 6.6
Syracuse – 4.2

After posting I was just reading around and noticed that Jim Teske a meteorologist from the WSYR Channel 9 news weather blog has some stats on Syracuse’s January all time snow stats which is worth checking out at .

A visitor to the GSB site, Dick Stinneford from Virginia who was born in Buffalo and lived in Olean has sent a great map from the NOAA site of the icing on the lakes including lake Erie which shows what parts of the lake have frozen over already and how much is left unfrozen so far. Dick also pointed out what a difference a week makes which you can see by looking at the first map which is the most recent, from today and the second map of the Great Lakes which was from Jan 17th. Thanks for taking the time Dick, it’s deeply appreciated 😉 A question for the pros. Are the color codes the thickness of the ice ex. orange would be a thickness of 7 to 8 inch thickness and what does the 10 mean? EX; 7-8’/10.

Just Click Image to Enlarge
Jan 24th NOAA Lake Ice

January 17th Ice on Lakes

My guess is that Syracuse will start getting dumped on sometime soon. Here is why. I shoveled my tail off during the month of December while all of my kids were off at college. All 3 kids are back to college now after the Christmas break as of yesterday which is when my daughter went back to Suny Oswego. Number of times they had to shovel my driveway while on Christmas break? Zero!!! To sum this rant up there has been no snow to shovel when the kids were around but when they aren’t around to help you can bet it will start snowing again. I think my daughters boyfriend Justin who also attends Oswego was a little surprised when I told him that as they drove back yesterday they will be entering a different world than they left behind here in snowless Syracuse and where he is from which is Norwich. Other than the winds which they are trying to get use to if they are lucky they will get to see the snow bands coming right at them. Their building has an awesome view of the lake from the top floor and they should be able to see the lake effect coming right at them.

Syracuse better watch their back because Rochester has slowly been inching their way towards the king of the snow hill top spot. Currently they are only 5.5 inches away from taking over the snow hill. I didn’t think I would be saying this but don’t count Buffalo out yet either. They have been picking up the pace the last several days and are only about a foot out of the lead. Until that lake freezes over we all better be worried about them. Binghamton and Albany aren’t a threat yet but if the Nor Easter’s continue they could mount a push to the top. In other words it’s still a good race and any of the GSB cities could pull off an upset over DaCuse this year.

Have a great day all!